Sunday, 2 December 2012

Venice - The Last Hurrah

The 26th looked like being another misty day and while the girls set off for the Accademia Bridge David and I joined David Bachmann in the Piazetta for something small to get us going.  I chose the clock tower and the others the ever seductive St Mark's facade.  At one point David B got the giggles and when I asked him what was up he pointed to the 5 - yes 5 - men changing a light bulb on one of the Piazetta lamps: one (in suit) to direct proceedings and be on the phone all the time, one to steady the working platform, two to do the job and one who seemed to be truly spare.

Clock Tower from Piazetta. 10x6ins

The three of us then jumped on a '2' going to Accademia and each did two versions of the view from the bridge.  I had to cut my second version short because we wanted to get one more in and went to San Barnaba to find it but we had no luck with a good pitch before the light went and it was time to go home.

Grand Canal form Accademia Bridge 12x8ins
I will probably work on this a bit more because the building shadow on the left foreground is too pronounced.  It will still be essentially 'plein air' or whatever the correct term is for a painting that is 93.457% done on the spot rather than only 93.238% (which of course is not plein air - or is it?).

Salute From Accademia Bridge 10x13ins
Again, some work needed but there is also the potential for ruining it!  For the open air painter 'to touch or not to touch' is a constant dilemma.

On the final day (27th) it looked as though, at last, David and I would be rewarded with a chance to catch the San Giorgio from the point of the Dogana with a decent sky behind it.  We dashed off on the '1' from Rialto and sped quickly to the end of the Dogana from the Salute stop.  David finished his first one in double-quick time and i struggled to keep up, completing my two long after he had departed for our next plannned stop near the Gesuati.  
San Giorgio from Punta Dogana 1 - 8x10ins

San Giorgio from Punta Dogana 2 - 8x10ins

The green lighters are the Venice refuse disposal boats.  They spend all day taking away mountains of mostly tourist rubbish.  On my way to catch up David I was struck by how the water to the right of the Zitelle church on the Giudecca was catching the light.  I used up another 30 minutes on that before dashing off to meet David. As I finished the rain started.

The Zitelle from the Dogana 8.5insx6ins

I had only been at the next pitch for 30 minutes when David announced that he was off to St Mark's, so I decided just to relax and enjoy painting in the rain.  

 Rain in Dorsoduro 12x8ins

When I finished this view back towards the Giudecca I realised that there was still time for one last painting.  I caught a '1' from Accademia to the first San Marco stop and going along the Molo I noticed that there was a big gap between the boats, allowing me a good view of the San Giorgio Maggiore.  By then the lagoon was choppy and boats had started to wear navigation lights.  I spent most of the next hour hanging on to my kit with one hand while I tried to mix and apply paint with the other.  I was soaked, my palette was soaked but my painting was deliciously fresh.  I knew I had finished when my umbrella blew off it's stand and hit me just above my left eye! It was a lucky escape but at the time I was not amused and when it hit the deck some yards away I chased it and booted it into a crumpled mass.  Done with my cursing I looked up and saw two men in the Vaporetto ticket office staring at the psychopathic Brit outside.  Covered in embarrassment I slunk away into the Piazza to dry off as best I could.

San Giorgio from the Molo - Rain  8x12ins

On our final morning there was an aqua alta so we decided to join the tourists in flooded St Mark's.  The following photo of the A Team looking relaxed is copyright David Pilgrim (Mr Tall).

 Tim, Haidee, David and Valerie


  1. Love the Venice paintings Tim. Dont worry about the umbrella - artists are supposed to be temperamental aren't they?! And slighty bonkers - why else would we choose to paint outside in all weathers!

    1. Hi Kevin, I think I thanked you by email and forgot that the blog comment would look as though I had ignored you. I am still getting used to all this technical stuff!

  2. Yeeeeesss! Nailed that sparkle perfectly on 'The Zitelle from the Dogana'

  3. You have a great talent to tell stories! Again, a great set of paintings here. On most of these your water has a lovely texture to it which really depicts the "milkyness" of it. I specially like " Rain in Dorsoduro 12x8ins" for the reflections and touches of lights and also Clock Tower from Piazetta. 10x6ins - great composition! I have the pressure to do my blog now!

    1. Thanks so much for the comments Valerie - it is great to have such encouragement. I felt very privileged to be painting with you, David and Haidee. We zoomed in on your blog photo of the Venice works today and I can't wait to see them full-size!

  4. As usual David you are more than kind. Saw your blog on an I-phone today! Nice work but I need a bigger screen to see them properly. See you tomorrow? Tim

  5. You have captured some cracking light and atmosphere Tim, well done. I'm keen to see more of your pastels too. It was such a pleasure to have your company on the trip! :-)

  6. More encouragement! Just what the old chap needs right now. Thanks Haidee! I was so pleased to see you win on Monday night - the look on your face when they announced the winner was worth the journey! I hope you and the family have a splendid Christmas. We are testing Fran's wedding fizzy so will be (more or less) continuously merry.